Wild & Precious Life – Winter 2021-2022

And so the snow began to fall and drift to the brown grass, covering it in a winter’s blanket. We have been lucky to have a few good snows during the last few months and plenty of cold weather, but it still has remained relatively mild compared to previous winters. Now it is March and already we have had extremely warm temperatures that have drifted by, chasing the robins from their winter burrows and forcing the red blooms out upon the maple trees, but we have also had those late winter bursts of snow. Waking in the morning to a snow covered ground that melts by the afternoon, or a snowstorm arriving on the heels of a warm and sunny day. It won’t last long at this point. Any snow we receive we know will be brief, never given the chance to grow gray and yellow with age, as it will rapidly melt and vanish within a day or two.

Winter has been restful, heartbreaking, lengthy, and quick. We celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary, hosted Thanksgiving dinner for my parents, had the help of our then 2.5 year old in decorating our Christmas tree, and witnessed the first Christmas where our son seemed to fully fall into the embrace of the magic of Christmas.

We have more or less gone with the functions of the winter months; celebrating each of the holidays and deeply enjoying our restful time indoors.

In autumn, I volunteered to begin editing articles for A Matter of Spirit, a Catholic publication that focuses much of its material on matters that affect people of all ethnicities. It’s been wonderful to brush up my editorial abilities and have something to place on my resume. The issues I’ve edited are Fall 2021 and Winter 2022. I’ve recently worked on the Spring articles and I am excited to see the artwork chosen for the front cover.

I completed more yarn crafts and worked on some knitting, but during our Christmas breaks I was struck by inspiration for a novel. For those new, I have been a writer since I was a small child. I passionately wanted to be a published author before I graduated high school although my writing was never quite the best. Still, it was a great loss when–seemingly suddenly–all inspiration for writing seemed zapped from me when I graduated college. When I began my master’s degree work I began to write creatively again and while the pandemic has allowed me time to write creatively, I still struggled with inspiration for anything longer than a thousand words.

But then it happened, completely unexpected and filling me with surprise and passion. I had a story I wanted to write, I had to write, and I was determined to do it. I wrote the first draft of my YA fantasy novel by January 22. I began a line edit of the book in February and full revision at the start of March. I share quotes and news about my writing progress on my Instagram. It’s been a wild and exciting experience. I’ve been a little nervous as often I find myself interested in a creative pursuit and then it fades, but I’ve also accepted that could happen here and have chosen to simply enjoy the experience for as long as I possibly can.

Since the start of the new year, I have worked toward a cooking goal of trying a new recipe twice a month, but have been able to often do such experiments once each week. We’ve discovered plenty of new-to-us meals that will likely end up in the rotation of our meals. It’s been wonderful to try new things and be able to take note of what we can do with fresh vegetables from the CSA farm in the summer months.

Speaking of the CSA farm, we are well into our canned goods we made in the fall. We still have sauce for pasta left and a collection of pickles and beets. We are running low on jam, but I suspect we will have enough to last us until the strawberry harvest in June. While I have limited space for canning and not all of the proper equipment, and I am also confined to the amount of vegetables we can retrieve from our farm, I think we made plenty of good use last year. It’s wonderful to have bites of summer on our winter plates.

Ryland has continued to shoot up like a weed and we have commented more than once recently that “we have a whole kid now.” Toddlerhood is rapidly disappearing, babyhood is well in the past, and we are entering a new phase that may possibly be my favorite yet (I think I’ve felt this way for every phase though). Ryland upgraded to a big boy bed which he was thrilled for and has happily embraced. He’s become much more active and independent, wanting to help us often and doing much better with instructions. He’s continued attending swim classes and seems to be growing closer to finding comfort in the water. He adores singing nursery rhymes and reading books, and his favorite toys are his cars and puzzles.

Christmas was particularly thrilling as he selected cookies for Santa and discovered Santa had visited overnight. We suspect by next year we will be struggling to keep him in bed on that fateful night. His birthday has also come and gone, and he was deliriously happy. He requested a duck cake and that his father make it; per an episode of Bluey. Bruce worked hard and made a delicious if a little bit terrifying duck cake but Ryland was nothing but thrilled.

We have found ourselves eager for spring after having false springs come and go. We’re excited for warmer days and to put our coats away, excited to go outside and feel the air on our skin. We are also hopeful, so hopeful, that sometime this year we can finally begin to move forward and all three of us will be fully vaccinated. If that happens we will happily be jet setting to the west coast to visit family and friends. Here’s hoping for open skies and seeing loved ones this year!

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